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Huge archive documenting Northern Ireland in the 1990s goes online

A treasure trove of archive material documenting Northern Ireland in the 1990s has been placed online.

The material comes from the political collection at Belfast's Linen Hall Library.

More than 350,000 political artefacts including posters, leaflets, books, pamphlets, manifestos, press releases, newspapers, periodicals, and objects are all included in the collection.

Items from the library have now been uploaded onto the Divided Society website, which describes itself as "a unique and important resource that explores a critical time in Northern Ireland's history".

The library has a collection of material which dates from the late 1960s, and the collection going online will be focused on a period from 1990 to 1998.

A range of perspectives are included, with material drawn from local and national government, community groups, voluntary groups, political parties, pressure groups, and paramilitaries.

In an introduction to the archive, Senator George J Mitchell - who was the United States Special Envoy to Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2001 - writes: "The Divided Society archive presents all of this information in a neutral and unbiased way and asks the reader to examine and investigate for themselves. Having material from all perspectives is vital in providing as broad and nonpartisan a view as possible."

Speaking on BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, the Linen Hall Library's director Julie Andrews said the project had gone through a development stage where they consulted a number of people and groups who would have had contact with the material collected.

"In the early days of the focus groups, we were speaking to one community in east Belfast, and they hadn’t seen the newsletters we were showing them since the 1990s, so that makes it all quite interesting," she said.

The project has been given backing by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Ulster Garden Villages.

The archive is being launched on Monday by prominent BBC war correspondent Kate Adie, who reported on Northern Ireland during the Troubles and covered the referendum to ratify the Good Friday Agreement.

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